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Palace Half Marathon - King Henry's Race

With the Madrid marathon a short five weeks away, my training is getting pretty intense. So far I've had one 20 mile run and the next two weeks are the toughest in the program. This past week was an "easy" week, which meant lighter mileage at a slower pace. I really enjoy these recovery weeks every four weeks and this past weekend planned in a half marathon with Beth at Hampton Court Palace.

We chose those race for its proximity to our house as well as being a very familiar route. It starts at the main entrance to Hampton Court (home of King Henry VIII) and ends in the Palace gardens. I've run most of this route many times before.

The races started in waves due to the tight towpath along the river. I started in wave 1, Beth was in wave 7. This was her first half in a few years, certainly her first since we moved to London.

I like to have a latte pick-me-up before I start my runs, so as we were a bit early, we headed to the cafe. We also knew this would have the least crowded toilets!

As race time approached we parted ways. Beth to drop our bag off at the event village while I headed to the starting line. And what a cool start it was! About 3500 runners packed in from of the King's home. The King himself was even at the start line seeing us off (and hopefully not beheading anyone).

The race started and my goals were simple. Take it easy, enjoy the race, find a comfortable pace in which I wouldn't breathe too heavy, and work on negative splits (run the 2nd half faster than the 1st half). I've been working hard to "feel" my marathon pace, which means not looking at my watch very often. Halfway into the race I took a peek at my watch and realised I was about 30 seconds faster than marathon pace. If I slowed down, that would mean not hitting my negative splits, which was more of a priority Sunday. So on I went, feeling comfortable and starting to gradually pick up the pace.

The course was lovely! The riverside views make for a great distraction. Then we turned into Home Park for the last two miles and BAM the wind hit us right in the face. It was like running straight into a wall of wind. This was a fun challenge to finish out the race. Many runners were fading by this point, yet I still felt pretty fresh. It's odd how 13.1 miles doesn't seem like a very long run anymore.

I finished in 1:36:14 for my second best half marathon time ever. I certainly wasn't expecting that. What I loved even more was nailing the negative splits!

I crossed the finish line, grabbed a few extra drinks and suddenly, there he is...King Henry VIII. I had to get a post-race photo with him.

He was super gracious and made sure that I had enjoyed myself. I took the opportunity before Beth finished to use the toilet, cool down, change my shirt, put on my jacket, use the toilet, do some stretching, eat a pizza and go find Beth along the finish.

I'm super proud of her! She's been working so hard for months now on her dieting and workouts, then she threw training for a half marathon into the mix. That ain't easy!

Then I see her, running with about 1/2 mile to go. I ran to the fence to cheer her on, then raced ahead to see her as she approached the finish.

And that was that! Another half marathon in the books. One last picture with King Henry and we headed home to relax our sore muscles the rest of the day.

A post shared by Beth Kriebel (@kriebelbeth) on


  1. How exciting for both of you but specially Beth. A big congratulations it is hard to add finding time to run w a full mom schedule. What a great picture too. You both look fantastic.


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